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I have been a long time E38 owner. I have had 5 of them and still have a 99 740iL with 155,000. But, I wanted to try an E39 and specifically a wagon. Several years ago, I had a chance to buy a 2002 E39 with only 50K miles. I had an E38 at the time and wanted to sell it so I could keep the E39. My friend and Mechanic has a small lot where he sells cars at his shop. SO, he had an idea that I should leave both of the cars at the shop and put them both up for sale and I would keep the one that didn't sell. I priced the E38 fairly low and the E39 was priced at high retail. The plan didn't work because they both sold the same day!

I have wanted an E39 since then. So, last week I decided I would look for an E39, an E39 wagon, or even a couple different Mercedes. I wanted to pay cash for whatever I found, so I wasn't going to find a super low mileage creampuff.

BUT, I did find a 2002 525i Wagon (Touring) with only 114K miles. I got it for a GREAT price!

Here's a picture.



A little bit about the car. The first owner had it for 16 years and then the second owner had it for about 8 months. Unfortunately, for the second owner that's when the intake gasket went bad and he had to replace it. I'm guessing he wasn't prepared to be a BMW owner and got rid of it.

The power seats didn't work when I test drove it at a small dealer. They had to replace the key recently and they cheaped out and got an aftermarket key without the remote functions. They thought the key was the problem with the seats. I was able to check the connection on the seat controls and got to make both of them to work.

The red brake light is on and it says check brake linings. BUT, I found a receipt where they had just put brakes on. I'm guessing they put on regular pads without the wear sensor.

I also discovered when I parked it on a hill that it had water in the passenger floor board. I have a friend with a few 5 series and he said the water barrier in the door needs to be replaced and that was the source of the water.

The first owner replaced the original radio and MID with a Kenwood unit and removed the MID. That's annoying, but I plan to replace it. Other than that it looks great!

The dealer couldn't tell, but it just recently got new hoses, new radiator, new expansion tank, and a new A/C line.

I think with brake wear sensor, new key, and new radio/MID, this will be about perfect! I love how the E39 drives. I was pretty surprised how stout that little 2.5 straight six is. Its not like my E38, but it has plenty of power.

I'm going to spend a weekend getting it all detailed. Its always fun to get a new BMW!
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
The front bumper needs sorting out.as for the brake message, it may only need the wear sensor.

Sent from my SGH-I337M using Bimmerfest mobile app
That's what I was thinking -- it probably just needs wear sensor.

Just decoded the vin. Its cool to figure out all the options. Apparently I have DSC and Steptronic. I also have the business radio with CD. But, no DSP.
 

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Just turn the steering wheel to one side and feel if there is a wire there, left front and right rear, if there is maybe the wires are frayed.
 

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the red brake light is caused by an open in the pad sensor circuit, the pad sensors do sometimes break on installation, and the chassis connector is also known to break from flexing. 2 wires, simple continuity from a to b
 

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W8ing to be Officly Wlcmd
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NP - Welcome to the wonderful world of E39 ownership! (It's really the same thing as E38 ownership - except a little bit cooler!:cool:)

I've been watching someone here on Bimmerfest for the last few months doing a really fine job of refurbishing an '01 E39 540i Touring with plenty of pics and advice. The car looked pretty rough when he first got it (for a steal from what I understand), but it's looking damned fine now. Last time I checked, he was contemplating converting to a manual 6-speed. This guy is a BMW Jedi!

I'll come back and post a link to his thread if I can find it. Might give you some good ideas on where to go with your new acquisition. Anyway, best of luck and keep the tools nearby and the garage warm. LOL :rofl:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
NP - Welcome to the wonderful world of E39 ownership! (It's really the same thing as E38 ownership - except a little bit cooler!:cool:)

I've been watching someone here on Bimmerfest for the last few months doing a really fine job of refurbishing an '01 E39 540i Touring with plenty of pics and advice. The car looked pretty rough when he first got it (for a steal from what I understand), but it's looking damned fine now. Last time I checked, he was contemplating converting to a manual 6-speed. This guy is a BMW Jedi!

I'll come back and post a link to his thread if I can find it. Might give you some good ideas on where to go with your new acquisition. Anyway, best of luck and keep the tools nearby and the garage warm. LOL :rofl:
Thanks for the welcome (and from the others too!). I hope one thing is different from E38 ownership. The reason I am not looking for my 6th e38 is because of the timing chain guides on the M62. That is what killed my other recent 7 Series. BUT, it did have 255,000 miles on it and had been a fantastic car. My current E38 has about 150,000 miles. SO, I'm getting a little worried about it. It is not making any noise, but it is always an issue. BUT, Maybe I will get another 100K on it like the previous car.

I just realized that the 540 would have the same engine. So, I guess E39 ownership is very similar! I love my 7 Series, but I'm glad this new car has a straight Six.
 

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That's what I was thinking -- it probably just needs wear sensor.

Just decoded the vin. Its cool to figure out all the options. Apparently I have DSC and Steptronic. I also have the business radio with CD. But, no DSP.
Yeah, Steptronic you can see on your shifter, and well, sorry, business radio with cd you dont have, you have a Kenwood!:bigpimp:
Anyway, you can get the right business radio and cd player on the auction site if you want but is your Kenwood then connected to the amp in your trunk now or did they mess up everything?
You probably have a cd changer also, or?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yeah, Steptronic you can see on your shifter, and well, sorry, business radio with cd you dont have, you have a Kenwood!:bigpimp:
Anyway, you can get the right business radio and cd player on the auction site if you want but is your Kenwood then connected to the amp in your trunk now or did they mess up everything?
You probably have a cd changer also, or?
First, that is a great color of Green!

Here is a picture of the radio. I don't know how much they hacked up everything in there.
 

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You have an amp and cd changer in the trunk?
If you want back to original you need the MID and the radio/cd player.
Check behind the radio maybe to see if adapters are used or wires have been cut.
 

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W8ing to be Officly Wlcmd
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Thanks for the welcome (and from the others too!). I hope one thing is different from E38 ownership. The reason I am not looking for my 6th e38 is because of the timing chain guides on the M62. That is what killed my other recent 7 Series. BUT, it did have 255,000 miles on it and had been a fantastic car. My current E38 has about 150,000 miles. SO, I'm getting a little worried about it. It is not making any noise, but it is always an issue. BUT, Maybe I will get another 100K on it like the previous car.

I just realized that the 540 would have the same engine. So, I guess E39 ownership is very similar! I love my 7 Series, but I'm glad this new car has a straight Six.
NP - I here ya on the TCG issue with the M62 in both the 740s and 540s. I just finished the timing chain guide replacements on my 740iL at 150k miles, and the plastic inserts on the original guides were more than 50% disintegrated with lots of little plastic pieces sitting in the bottom of the timing chain housing and oil pan! :yikes: In my opinion, this repair was a just-in-time service. It is a major PITA to do, but it cannot be ignored, as you found out the hard way.

As a heads up, there is also an issue with the timing going off just a tad following this service. It seems to be 50/50 as to whether or not the timing is dead on when finished, regardless of how well you lock down the cams. Within 15 miles of driving the car on the new TCGs, I got an error code "Inlet-camshaft control Bank 2," which as I've found out here on Bimmerfest, is due to the timing position on that bank being just ever so slightly off. Fortunately, the engine is running great and the fix is not that difficult, I just have to take everything off of Bank 2 - Again! :mad:

Fortunately, with a 525i Touring, this is an issue you won't ever have to deal with. However, although the M52 inline six is practically bullet-proof internally, there are several areas of concern that you should keep your eye out for.

First, the valve cover gasket will harden and start leaking within 30k miles of replacement. I know this because I've replaced 7 of them over 210k miles. You'll know if it's a problem when you start smelling burnt engine oil. Do not ignore it! It's only a 1-2 hour job and you risk an engine fire if the engine oil continues to leak onto the exhaust manifold due to a hardened gasket, which is exactly where the oil goes what it leaks out at the back of the valve cover.

Second, the coolant system in the M52 will fail within 100k miles - I know this because I've just replaced it for the third time. The only thing that should not be replaced is the radiator (depending on condition). Everything else needs to go! And don't even think about using anything other than BMWs stupidly expensive blue coolant/anti-freeze. The green stuff will just accelerate the demise of your cooling system. Trust me on that one. :thumbup:

Regarding the replacement radio in your new 525i Touring, I'd seriously consider upgrading it to a full double-din touchscreen system. I've been toying with swapping mine out for the last couple of years, but something always seems to break somewhere else on the car before I pull the trigger. There are a dozen or so threads here on Bimmerfest regarding the ins and outs of this swap, especially if your car was equipped with the OE "Business" radio system (cassette in the head-unit and 6-disc changer and amp in the trunk). There are cheapo solutions and not such cheapo solutions, your call as to which way you want to go, but keep this in mind, you tend to get what you pay for with Bimmer parts and accessories!

That's all I got for now. Let's keep this thread going!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
NP - I here ya on the TCG issue with the M62 in both the 740s and 540s. I just finished the timing chain guide replacements on my 740iL at 150k miles, and the plastic inserts on the original guides were more than 50% disintegrated with lots of little plastic pieces sitting in the bottom of the timing chain housing and oil pan! :yikes: In my opinion, this repair was a just-in-time service. It is a major PITA to do, but it cannot be ignored, as you found out the hard way.

As a heads up, there is also an issue with the timing going off just a tad following this service. It seems to be 50/50 as to whether or not the timing is dead on when finished, regardless of how well you lock down the cams. Within 15 miles of driving the car on the new TCGs, I got an error code "Inlet-camshaft control Bank 2," which as I've found out here on Bimmerfest, is due to the timing position on that bank being just ever so slightly off. Fortunately, the engine is running great and the fix is not that difficult, I just have to take everything off of Bank 2 - Again! :mad:

Fortunately, with a 525i Touring, this is an issue you won't ever have to deal with. However, although the M52 inline six is practically bullet-proof internally, there are several areas of concern that you should keep your eye out for.

First, the valve cover gasket will harden and start leaking within 30k miles of replacement. I know this because I've replaced 7 of them over 210k miles. You'll know if it's a problem when you start smelling burnt engine oil. Do not ignore it! It's only a 1-2 hour job and you risk an engine fire if the engine oil continues to leak onto the exhaust manifold due to a hardened gasket, which is exactly where the oil goes what it leaks out at the back of the valve cover.

Second, the coolant system in the M52 will fail within 100k miles - I know this because I've just replaced it for the third time. The only thing that should not be replaced is the radiator (depending on condition). Everything else needs to go! And don't even think about using anything other than BMWs stupidly expensive blue coolant/anti-freeze. The green stuff will just accelerate the demise of your cooling system. Trust me on that one. :thumbup:

Regarding the replacement radio in your new 525i Touring, I'd seriously consider upgrading it to a full double-din touchscreen system. I've been toying with swapping mine out for the last couple of years, but something always seems to break somewhere else on the car before I pull the trigger. There are a dozen or so threads here on Bimmerfest regarding the ins and outs of this swap, especially if your car was equipped with the OE "Business" radio system (cassette in the head-unit and 6-disc changer and amp in the trunk). There are cheapo solutions and not such cheapo solutions, your call as to which way you want to go, but keep this in mind, you tend to get what you pay for with Bimmer parts and accessories!

That's all I got for now. Let's keep this thread going!
I thought my E39 had the M54 engine?

Regarding the radio, I wouldn't mind doing a modern version. I do have the Business Radio with CD. The reason I don't like the radio I have now is because the MID is gone. I can't check all that stuff. I know I have the BC on the stalk, but I can't reset everything. Can I?
 

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What happens when keep the stalk botton pushed in? If you have the consumption up on the display and hold the botton in it should reset.
You can still have a MID connected and store it in the glove compartment for instance.
 

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I thought my E39 had the M54 engine?

Regarding the radio, I wouldn't mind doing a modern version. I do have the Business Radio with CD. The reason I don't like the radio I have now is because the MID is gone. I can't check all that stuff. I know I have the BC on the stalk, but I can't reset everything. Can I?
you do have the M54 engine. But the stuff that was said about the 6 cyl M52 holds true with your car. I might not go much more than 100k miles on the original radiator - particularly now that it is 15-16 yrs old at a minimum

So you have have the Business CD separate from the car?. It was not shown in the picture you posted. And to be clear, The business CD is a one-disc player mounted in the dash above the MID from the factory. The 6-disc changer is a different, additional, unit mounted in the trunk.
 

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First, that is a great color of Green!

Here is a picture of the radio. I don't know how much they hacked up everything in there.
Hey welcome to the E39. You have already gotten lots of good advice. That Kenwood looks horrible with that giant bezel around it. Not sure if you are a sound junkie, but the non-dsp amp doesn't do much for sound quality. You may want to look into a double DIN solution and a new amp. They don't look perfect, but much better than what you have.

There are also these:

https://avinusa.com/

which are really cheap and they do a ton, just mixed results on longevity and customer support. That said, if I had that Kenwood in my dash and nothing to replace it with, I would most definitely give the Avin a shot. It fits and looks like it came with the car and it does a crap ton of cool modern day stuff like Apple Car Play, etc.
 

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you do have the M54 engine. But the stuff that was said about the 6 cyl M52 holds true with your car. I might not go much more than 100k miles on the original radiator - particularly now that it is 15-16 yrs old at a minimum

So you have have the Business CD separate from the car?. It was not shown in the picture you posted. And to be clear, The business CD is a one-disc player mounted in the dash above the MID from the factory. The 6-disc changer is a different, additional, unit mounted in the trunk.
Sorry no. I said that wrong. I do not have the radio or the MID. I meant the options when I checked the vin shows Business Radio.

Here is what the decoder says specifically:

S640A Preparation f telinstallation universal
S650A CD player
S694A Provisions for BMW 6 CD changer
S645A BMW US Radio
S661A Radio BMW Business C43
S676A HiFi speaker system


Luckily, my radiator is new or relatively new. It looks like the radiator, expansion tank, and a few hoses were all replaced very recently. Having had a few E38s I am definitely used to dealing with radiators and expansion tanks and hoses.
 

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What happens when keep the stalk botton pushed in? If you have the consumption up on the display and hold the botton in it should reset.
You can still have a MID connected and store it in the glove compartment for instance.
I don't know. I have tried that. Would that work to set the date and time also? With the MID, its easy.
 

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You cannot set time with the stalk.
You can set it with NAVCoder software and an ibus adapter.
There was a little device with an lcd screen sold on the auction site which could be attaced to the mid cables and set the time but I have not seen this device for a long time.
 

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W8ing to be Officly Wlcmd
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I thought my E39 had the M54 engine?

Regarding the radio, I wouldn't mind doing a modern version. I do have the Business Radio with CD. The reason I don't like the radio I have now is because the MID is gone. I can't check all that stuff. I know I have the BC on the stalk, but I can't reset everything. Can I?
Regarding engine designation - Oops - you are correct - it is an M54, not an M52 - my bad. :eek:uch:

Regarding your radio, it all depends on what was removed or not removed when the OE head unit was replaced. The BMW radios of that era used a proprietary DSC processor, which from my research, makes a direct swap with off the shelf stereos difficult, if not impossible (especially if you want to add an amp and subwoofer) without some major rewiriing. There are several really good threads on here discussing the different options and possible workarounds. It's been a couple of years since I did the research, so this is all coming from memory (Keep in mind I just turned 61 and my memory wasn't all that great at 25 - lol)

Have fun here on Bimmerfest and see if you can find some of those threads. Since I got the 740iL back and the 528i is running solid with no obvious near-term fixes looming ahead, maybe it's time for me to take the plunge as well and bring my 528 into the 21st century as far as in-car entertainment systems goes. :bigpimp:
 

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Oh and one last thought, as I re-read my post about the inline six issues, I said that the Valve Cover Gasket (VCG) was only lasting about 30k miles. That was an average. In fact, I went as far as 100k and as little as 10k miles before having to replace it over the years. It may depend on who manufactured the gaskets, what time of year most of the driving is occurring (excessive heat causes hardening) and whether the mechanic (strictly DIY these days) was drinking the night before he replaced it. What I do know is that if you have oil leaking from the edge of the valve cover, getting the valve housing upper lip where it meets the gasket super clean is an absolute must. Any dirt - or grease smudge - or little pixies that might be left on the lip will almost guarantee a bad seal and continued oil leakage. The first time I did this myself, it took 3 tries to get it right and delete the leak. :bawling:
 
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